Thursday, December 30, 2010

A NEW Year ... A NEW Me

Today, the inevitable happened. I've blogged about it many times before...but never in the state I'm in now. Never in my life have I felt the way I felt tonight, sitting alone in the Kohl's dressing room, silently sobbing. And then...not so silently sobbing.  It's just like all of the sudden, in the florescent lights of that dressing room, I really saw myself for what I ACTUALLY look like...and I could not believe what I was looking at. It was a devastating blow, realizing just how over-weight I've become. The funny thing about this moment...this "moment of reckoning" as my dear friend Mandy calls this moment I realized something else. The handful of times previous to this very moment that I've talked and talked about losing weight...I was never, not a single time, as committed, driven and determined to actually DO IT. And that made me cry even harder.

And as I sit here, still with my tear stained cheeks, I know that...
This Is IT.
For Real.
It's Time. 

It's time to remember what its like to LOVE shopping. To LOVE being in pictures. To LOVE ME.

So, as we welcome in the NEW Year, I am also welcoming in a NEW mindset, a NEW outlook, and hopefully definitely a NEW me.  


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whatever Wednesday - The Christmas & Locks of Love Edition

What's this?! I'm posting a Whatever Wednesday post...ON WEDNESDAY?! Shocking, I know! I've really slacked's been totally unintentional, I assure you!

Down to business! Let's start with a Locks of Love update. My hair has officially gone from long to "Wow, you're hair is so long". And I am chomping at the bit to cut it all off!! Ryan is very particular about my hair and he really likes it long (though not quite this long, I don't think, haha) so he made me promise I wouldn't cut it above my shoulders. That's fine with me...except that it means the total length has to be that.much.longer. So, I measured from my collar bones, which is the length I plan to get it to, so I could see how many inches I had to grow. Just over ONE people!! ONE!! So, I set my next cut & color appointment for March and will do "The Big Chop" then. The end is in sight!!!! Can you tell  how happy that makes me?! Don't get me wrong, I love my hair long...sometimes I even love it this long, but it's so hard to take care of! I wear it curly sometimes, but the longer (and heavier) it gets, the less pretty the curl is. So, I usually straighten it...which is a task. So, if you've done the math you know, the longer the hair, the more time and effort I have to put into it. And I'm over it, haha.  Enough is an update pic of the progress!
Sorry it's a little pixely.

On to Christmas! (This one is going to be a picture-free post because I don't have my camera with me.) This year we decided to do things a little differently. Every year we feel so rushed to get everything and everyone squeezed in that we end up blinking and Christmas is over. So, we decided to really spread it out and spend some time on Christmas alone. Just the two of us.
Here's how it all went down:
Christmas really started on the 22nd for us, when my Mom, Frankie, Ryan & I drove into Dallas to have dinner with my cousin Mike, his wife Kim, his amazing kiddos Steel & Akina, my Aunt Suzie & Uncle Frank, cousin John and Gam. It was so nice spending some time with them, while Suzie, Frank, John and Gam were all in town from TN.
One the 23rd, we went to Ryan's parent's after work for Christmas with them. We had a lovely dinner, great conversation and opened gifts. It was so nice to not be rushed...we could just relax and enjoy their company instead of checking the clock.
On Christmas Eve day, Ryan & I woke up and drove down to Stein's bakery in Dallas to pick up the Christmas Tree coffee cake - a tradition for Frankie & I growing up. After, we ran a few last minute errands then went to my Mom's. She is an awesome cook and pulled out ALL the stops for dinner this year. It was so, so good. There is just something about eating the food you grew up on that makes you feel so...HAPPY! (And full!) After dinner we went to church, then came home and played domino's. (I case you wondered.) Then we packed up and Ryan & I went home for the night.
Christmas morning, we slept in (which is about 8am for us), got up, showered and headed back to my Mom's to open presents and stockings. (She only lives about 7 minutes away.) Oh, and eat our Christmas Tree coffee cake, of course. :) amazing thing happened...we spent the rest of Christmas at home, curled up on our couch, watching Christmas movies. It was wonderful. We realized that our days of mellow Christmases are numbered as we move closer and closer to the days of children, so we fully enjoyed our quite, low-key, "just the two of us" Christmas night. :)
The next day, the 26th, we celebrated with my Dad and his family. Frankie, my Dad, his wife Donna and her kids, Clancy and Ben, came over to our apartment mid-afternoon. We exchanged gifts with my Dad then went out to eat!
I felt so loved, so blessed, so lucky this Christmas. And now...we look ahead to 2011. We are so excited to see what it holds for us...

Merry Christmas & A Happy, Healthy New Year!


Friday, December 10, 2010

The Long Overdue Blog About Thanksgiving

Well, since we are on 16 days away from Christmas, I guess I should blog about Thanksgiving, huh?

This is going to be a long post. You’ve been warned.

This year, Ryan & I traveled with his parents and brother to have Thanksgiving with his paternal Grandparents in Illinois. This was my first holiday away from my Mom & brother, so it was really bittersweet for me, but what a fun trip we had!

We left early Wednesday morning (and I do mean early) to catch the first flight out of DFW into Milwaukee, WI. Since Ryan did a good chunk of his “growing up” in a cute town near Milwaukee (Lake Geneva) we decided to make a pit stop there on our way to his Grandparent’s house. Lake Geneva was such a pretty area, and it was so neat to see the house Ryan talked about so much, in person.

Ryan, Susan, Richard and Scott

We had lunch in Lake Geneva at a place called Scuttlebutt’s, (Yes, I ate a place called Scuttlebutt’s) then headed towards the tiny town of Victoria, IL. Richard was born and raised here and the house his Grandparent’s live in is the house he grew up in. Grandpa Herbie built it with his own two hand 60+ years ago. It’s not often you have a piece of history like that in the family!

Here is "The House That Herbie Built"

On Thanksgiving morning, Ryan & I headed out for a walk before watching the Macy’s parade.

It was COLD! Ryan’s red nose is proof. ;)

Shortly after, family started to arrive. Richard’s brother Brian, his wife Gloria and their daughter Molly (and dog Jiffy) as well as Richard’s sister Sarah, husband Mark and kids Josh and Hope came over. It was so great seeing everyone. We ate, talked, laughed, some napped, then after dark, a few of us (me, Ryan, Josh, Scott and Hope) ended up in the dining room for a Battleship duel. We alternated playing each other and I am proud to say, by the end of the “tournament” – I DOMINATED! ;)

Ryan & I at the Thanksgiving table

Friday we had a lazy morning, then headed out to get Ryan’s Grandparent’s a new Christmas tree. First we stopped at Coney Island to have some special hot dogs that Grandpa Herbie has been eating since he was a kid, and that every generation since has eaten. Apparently, the recipe hasn’t changed in all that time, and the decor hadn’t either. It was a fun treat. After picking up the tree, Ryan got it all set up for Grandma Maxine, then we had dinner with Brian, Gloria and Molly.

Ryan & Grandpa Herbie inside Coney Island

Saturday morning we packed up and headed toward South Barrington, IL (on our way back to the airport). Susan’s brother Bim, his wife Ezia and their 3 boys (so, so cute) EJ, Nicky and Jonathan live there. We had lunch with them, visited, got a tour of the house (Well, I did. Everyone else had been there before.) then hit the road back to the airport.

Ryan with Bim, Ezia and EJ. I am SO mad at myself for only getting one picture there :(

It was such a great trip and I know it was especially great for Ryan to be able to see all the places that impacted his childhood! Thank you to my wonderful in-laws for the trip!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our 2nd Anniversary

Yesterday was our 2nd wedding anniversary. We are on a pretty tight budget these days so we decided ahead of time that we wouldn’t exchange gifts this year, but rather go to a benefit concert (for CF) to see The O’s & Ben Kweller and then go out to eat on our actual anniversary. So, on Saturday night Ryan & I headed to the Granada in Dallas with Brittany. (Brittany coming too was pretty appropriate since she was my Maid of Honor!) It was an amazing show – for a great cause. Here are a few pictures from the night.

Ryan & I

Me & Britt

The O's

Ben Kweller

Ben Kweller

On to our actual anniversary! I married a romantic guy…which is a good thing because I am a self proclaimed “hopeless romantic”. I am the girl who believes in fairy tales and happily ever after no matter how many times you tell me (or show me) it doesn’t exist. I can’t help it. Maybe it has something to do with our “story” as a couple…it feels like the plot to a Rom-Com. Anyway, when I got home from work, I walked in the door to find a dozen roses, in 4 different colors, and a bottle of champagne. Oh…and a card. Because my smart hubby knows I LOVE cards and expect at least two cards a year from him…my birthday and our anniversary. So, I open the card to find an explanation of the 4 types of roses. He is probably going to kill me for sharing parts of what he wrote in the card…but he should be used to it by now.
Here are the roses (& the champagne).

Please excuse my messy counter...

The red roses are for our romance and love.
The yellow and pink are for our friendship within our marriage.
The white and pink symbolizes our “perfect happiness”.
And lastly, the white ones are to remember our wedding day.

I know. He’s really good to me.

So after I dried the tears induced by his thoughtfulness, we headed to Chili’s to eat dinner. I know, it sounds so boring, but we had our first date ever in April of 2002 at Chili’s, so it felt appropriate to us. So, we've made it two years...and as I said to Ryan last's to at least another 60. To which he replied, "That will make us really old." Yup. That's the plan. ;)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Makes Me Southern...and What Doesn't

Quite some time ago, probably at least a year ago, while sitting in a doctor's office waiting room, I was skimming magazines when I stumbled across an article with a title something along the lines of "Why I'm a Self Proclaimed Southern Belle". I cannot remember for the life of me what magazine it was. But it enters my mind from time to time when I do anything that gets labeled "a Southern thing". I will preface this by saying, I married a "Yankee". Not the New York kind (which I am especially thankful for during baseball season)...the born in Illinois, raised in Wisconsin kind. My sweet, loving, Yankee husband just looooves to point out my innate "southern-ness". If it weren't for this, I'd probably never be able to make such a list as this...

What Makes Me Southern:
- I say "y'all" daily. Sometimes I say "y'all" and I'm only referring to one person. Oops.
- I say "yes ma'am/sir, no ma'am/sir", but not in the usual sense, like answering an elder or peer, though I do try to do that too. This is one of those things Ryan likes to point out. Example, recently, Chloe (yes, our cat) was scratching the carpet. I scolded her by saying "NO MA'AM!" in a stern voice. Ryan laughed. Apparently, this makes me Southern.
- 1/2 of my genetics make me Southern. My Maternal Grandparents were born and raised in Mississippi. My Mom was born in Knoxville, TN and raised in Louisville, KY.
- I call my mother "Mama". She called her parents "Mother & Daddy". Ryan swears no one up north does that.
- I have random little make-up tips that my friends who aren't raised by "Southern Folk" think are weird. Oh, you want an example? Okay. I never leave home without lipstick. That may seem normal...but my reasoning may not. Need a little color in your cheeks? Dab some lipstick on your cheeks and smooth in. My friend Heather, who is from Mississippi, already knew this trick. My friend Ashley, who is from PA, looked at me like I had lost my mind when she witnessed me doing this.
- Even though I fight it hard, I say a lot of words with a drawl.
- I'm overly girly. That's putting it nicely...Ryan calls me "dainty". I know, there are a lot of Southern girls who hunt and fish...I guess my point is that I tend to lean towards the "Belle" in the term.

What Doesn't:
- I don't like Iced Tea...or tea of any kind really.
- My favorite city to visit in the US of A is Boston.
- The other 1/2 of my genetics. My Dad was born & raised in a suburb near Chicago. My Paternal Grandmother was from Minnesota.
- I called my father "Daddy" growing up, but as I got older, that has changed to "Pop". Apparently, this is a "Chicago" trait. Its a totally learned behaivor, because my Dad and his brother both called my Gramp "Pop".
- I LOVE northern accents like PA (see Bam Margera), Chicago and especially Boston.
-Even though it's totally odd, sometimes I say words like I'm from the northern states. Maybe this is from my Dad's family...or Ryan...or both? Who knows.

So, there you have it. I guess instead of being a "Self Proclaimed Southern Belle", I'm a "Self Proclaimed Mutt". And I'm good with that. Oh boy, are our kids in store for some confusion...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Script – Concert "Review"

Last night, Brittany, Kim & I saw Irish band The Script at the House of Blues in Dallas. As previously mentioned, I’ve been to a LOT of concerts/live shows in my life. It’s just something I really, really enjoy doing. Some concerts left me wondering why I ever like that artist/band in the first place. This was not one of those times.

First, the House of Blues is an awesome venue because even if you are midway back in the room (like we were) it feels very intimate. Second, The Script is one of my favorite bands, so I walked in with pretty high expections...only to have them blown right out of the water. Danny O'Donoghue (the lead singer) would ask every so often for the house lights to be turned up so he could see everyone, and then he would thoughtfully sit on the drum deck and just grin from ear to ear looking at all the people there for THEM. Not only were his vocals absolutely flawless, but the energy of all 3 band members never dropped for a second as they danced around the stage and shared stories between songs. But what stood out to me the most? They were humble and appreciative. Danny O'Donoghue took the time to step down into the crowd to hug and high five as many people as he could reach and when the lights would come up it was obvious that all three of them were trying their hardest to make eye contact with every single person in that room.

I know I’ve really harped on their personalities and stage presence, so I should probably talk about the music now! I first heard of The Script close to three years ago. They were on XM’s The Pulse doing a radio interview before their album dropped so I listened to their totally sexy Irish accents all the way home. After a good 15 minutes of chatting they played the first The Script song I ever heard. “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”. For me, this song felt SO personal…and I actually had to pull over on the side of the road because I was crying so hard. Yup. I’m THAT girl. I loved his voice from that very first moment…and I felt like that song embodied a very personal struggle that I felt when Ryan & I had broken up years before. At the time I first heard this song, Ryan & I were engaged and planning our wedding…but the song took me back to before fate brought us back together. Well, when they played that song last night…I’ll openly admit, I cried. In public. At a concert. For a few brief moments, there was no one else in the room. Hearing his pristine voice effortlessly sing every word, I couldn’t help but relate to Roberta Flack's “Killing Me Softly”…but in a good way.

I’ve really only talked about Danny, which is totally unfair because both Mark Sheehan (guitar) and Glen Power (drums) were also phenomenal. Mark Sheehan was hilarious and I don’t think he ever stopped moving! And I’m pretty picky about drummers…maybe because I’m married to a drummer (who has set his sticks down…for now), he always points out what makes a good drummer…good. Well, Glen Power was great.

Here are some pictures from the show:

Hugo - the opener

Me, Brittany and Kim.
We were SO ready for The Script!

The Script

Mark Sheehan

Danny O'Donoghue

Glen Power

My favorite shot of the night of Danny O'Donoghue

This was pretty awesome. When the lights went up, Mark Sheehan asked if he could take our picture. It was a really neat moment as they all stepped back to "appreciate" all of us. He then posted it on Twitter. :) Such a cool trio of guys.

So…taking this entire blog-novel into consideration, I think I can safely say The Script ranks in my top 5 best concerts ever. In fact, I think they have even broken into the top 3…


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bars

As promised, my recipe for Pumpkin Pie Bars!

• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 3/4 cup butter

• 3/4 c sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• ¼ tsp ground cloves
• 2 eggs
• 15 oz pumpkin (I use
• 1 can evaporated milk


In one bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon and stir together. Break apart butter with your fingers and mix into the dry ingredients until mostly incorporated. Press firmly into a greased 9x13 pan.

In another bowl, mix all dry filling ingredients. Once mixed, beat in the 2 eggs then STIR in the evaporated milk little by little until fully incorporated. Pour evenly over the crust and bake, uncovered, until a skewer or knife can be inserted and comes out clean. Once out of the oven, I like to sprinkle with chocolate chips. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour and refrigerate.

Here is the crust pressed into the pan:

Here is the finished product! 

They are so yummy and super easy! Enjoy!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!

This weekend, we (okay - I) went a little pumpkin crazy. I’ve been eagerly awaiting fall since…well, June, so it’s no wonder I have pumpkin on the brain. Over the weekend we purchased and carved pumpkins, and I baked an array of pumpkin goodies – Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Bars.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

3 cups white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (or you can make 15 oz of your own roasted pumpkin. For time/ease I used canned organic pumpkin puree)
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease/Pam your pans. (I use disposable pans so I can give them away and not worry about getting my dish back. This time I made 2 regular loaf pans and 5 mini loaf pans worth.)

2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill 1/2 to 3/4 full. (I do mine at about 1/2)
3. Bake for time varies depending on your oven and pan sizes. I check it every 15 minutes until an inserted knife or skewer comes out clean. If you want to remove from pans, cool on wire racks before doing so.

Here is a picture of the finished product. It's not burnt, FYI. I sprinkled chocolate chips on top…and topped it with a little powdered sugar.

We also carved pumpkins, as I mentioned. I’m willing to bet you can guess which Newlywed Naslund made which pumpkin… ;) (In case you can’t…mine is the face, Ryan’s is the 7 legged spider.)

And yes - I'll post my Pumpkin Bar recipe later! :)


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Whatever Wednesday - It's My Blog & I Can Write When I Want To!

It's been a while. I've had bloggers block.

And now "It's My Party" is stuck in my head. Super.

FALL has finally arrived (or so says the calendar) and we couldn't be more stoked about that. The weather has been really mild (YAY!) though the end of this week it will almost be back into the 90's (sad face).

This past weekend Ryan & I along with Kim & Jason and Brittany went to our local Farmer's Market and I officially have a new obsession. We bought some veggies, cheese, grass fed beef and a few other items. The beef was SO much better than what we have been buying at the grocery store. We made Taco Soup amd used the grass fed beef and you could really tell a difference. It was such a rich flavor! I will definitely be buying our meat (and produce) there as much as possible. They also have free roaming chicken (and eggs) but they sell out of it very fast, so we will have to go earlier next time so we can try that too.

As it gets cooler out, I'll be able to start using my oven more, so expect new recipies soon! :)


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What Sweet Husbands Do

I am a lucky girl. I know this. I have a sweet husband. Don't confuse this with perfection, cause (I love you Ryan) he's not perfect, but he is usually kind, always thoughtful and definitely sweet. Here are just a few things I think sweet husbands do...

A sweet husband washes his wife's car when she is sick in bed, but REALLY wanted to wash her car that day.

A sweet husband brings home little surprises/treats out of the blue because he thought about his wife during the day.

A sweet husband lets his wife control the radio when he'd rather listen to anything but the Hits station.

A sweet husband bakes (& decorates!) his wife's best friend a cookie cake for her birthday, when said wife was sick over the weekend and wasn't able to (the same weekend he washed her car).

(I SWEAR Ryan made this.)

That's what sweet husbands do. That's what my husband does.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Whatever Wednesday!

So, I’m late this week with my Whatever Wednesday post. In fact, I am thinking about changing this whole thing over to Forgetful Friday! ;) But truthfully, I blame the holiday on Monday. It has thrown my week off…in a good way. I could have sworn yesterday was Tuesday, but pleasantly to my surprise today is miraculously THURSDAY!

I still don’t have much to report. The past few weekends have been busy helping my Mom get her house ready to sell and during the week I generally come straight home from work (except the nights I babysit). But, I am okay with the “boring” routine.

I will do a quick Locks of Love update! It’s really getting long now, though I still have at least 4 inches to go before the big cut! I am getting excited. As much as I love my long hair, I am ready for much less hair to care for and fix every day. Here is a picture of my progress:

This week’s recipe is by request. We made BBQ Pizza this weekend, and I posted a picture on my Facebook which resulted in several comments and messages asking for the recipe. There isn’t really a “recipe” so to speak, but here is it anyway!

Ryan’s BBQ Pizza

Boboli thin pizza crust (We may make our own next time, which we’ve done before. We used Boboli for the sake of time.)
Beef brisket, flank or skirt steak (You can substitute chicken or pork, too)
Mozzarella cheese (we buy hunks of it and shred ourselves for freshness/creaminess – is that a word? Oh well.)
Your favorite BBQ sauce

Seriously, this could not be easier. Season the beef with seasoning of your choice (we use Stubb’s Rub) and slow cook it on the grill for 3-4 of hours on LOW HEAT. Once a crust has formed on one side, flip it and coat that side with BBQ sauce. Repeat until meat is done. Shred the cooked beef and set aside. Cover the pizza crust almost to the edge with BBQ sauce. Not too much or your crust can get soggy - that is key! Top it with mozzarella, then the beef, then a little more cheese. You can cook it in the oven until the cheese is melted, or do what we prefer – put the pizza on the grill (still LOW HEAT) until the cheese is melted. It makes the crust so crispy and gives it a nice, smoky flavor. (For added smoky flavor, Ryan makes a little bowl out of foil and puts hickory chips with a little water in it, then puts that in the corner of the grill.) Once it’s cooked, drizzle with a little more BBQ sauce and enjoy!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Whatever Wednesday!

So, I missed last week. Oops. Honestly, we've been pretty busy - yet I haven't had anything to blog about. How does that work?! Anyway, because we've both been so busy, I haven't tried any new recipes either. This is just one giant blog FAIL!

Just wanted to let everyone know, I'm still around, just busy...and boring. I'll think of something interesting to write soon. ;)


Monday, August 23, 2010

Breaking Bad Habits - Part I

I am a woman of many great qualities, of this I am confident. However, I am also a woman of many bad habits, of this I am also confident. ;) I've decided recently to explore a few.

First, and possibly the worst, is my tendency to have a "junk drawer". If Ryan is reading this, he is laughing out loud by now because I said a "junk drawer". The problem is, it starts with one, and then when that one's full I expand. Over and over. This weekend I tackled the four, yes four, "junk drawers" that had taken over my house. I had one in the kitchen. One in the bathroom. One in the dresser and one in the bedside table.

I have an affinity for organizing. The problem is staying organized. For me to stay organized, it usually requires some hardware. So, first thing Saturday morning, I headed over to one of my top 5 favorite places to shop - The Container Store. I could spend all day and all my money in this store. I always go with a list (or I'll go nuts), and by the time I leave, I've crossed everything off the original list, but added twice as many things for 'next time'.

I got home and went straight to work. I started in the kitchen.
I snapped the picture after I'd started taking everything out, but everything you see on the counter was just thrown in the drawer. Not a pretty sight, and good luck finding anything. 


Next, the bathroom. Tiny drawer, lots of stuff.

 It's so beautiful I could cry!

On to the dresser. Before:


And the worst of them all, the bedside table.  Don't judge me.


We also have a clutter problem in our pantry because it's really deep, which is great for storing lots of food, but things get easily lost and everything just get tossed in there. I got a few pantry baskets and they made a huge difference.


The problem? Now that I've started, I want to re-organize every square inch of our apartment. This could become an expensive habit to break...

PS. I am not being sponsored by The Container Store...but if they'd like to, I'm totally in.